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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Thunderbirds Are GO / Thunderbird 6 [Blu-ray]

 

(David Lane, 1966 / 1968)

 

The Complete Thunderbirds Collection is also available in a region FREE, 6 Blu-ray disc set:

  

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: United Artists / MGM

Video: Twilight Time / Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player) Limited to 3,000 Copies!

Thunderbirds Are GO: Runtime: 1:33:15.631 / 1:33:16.591

Thunderbird 6 Runtime: 1:29:20.396 / 1:29:23.358

Twilight Time Disc Size: 48,305,237,372 bytes

Kino - Thunderbirds Are GO - Disc Size: 21,937,613,937 bytes

Kino - Thunderbirds 6 - Disc Size :  20,987,151,611 bytes

Thunderbirds Are GO Feature Size: 20,294,031,360 bytes / 20,009,422,848 bytes

Thunderbird 6 Feature Size: 19,335,751,680 bytes / 19,227,561,984 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps / 22.91 Mbps

Chapters: 12 / 12 / 8 / 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May, 2014 / June 20th, 2017

 

Video (same):

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Thunderbirds Are GO:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3689 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3689 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -5dB)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1071 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1071 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit / DN -1dB)
Commentaries:

DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit / DN -1dB
DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1761 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1761 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1559 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1559 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1865 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1865 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Thunderbird 6:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3807 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3807 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1095 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1095 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit / DN -1dB)
Commentary:

DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1764 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1764 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1556 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1556 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1925 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1925 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbp
s

 

Subtitles (same):

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

Thunderbirds Are GO:

Isolated Score Track

Audio Commentary with Film Historians Jeff Bond and Nick Redman
Audio Commentary with Producer Sylvia Anderson and Director David Lane
Excitement Is Go! - Making Thunderbirds (22:30)
Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Unseen Test Footage (17:02)
History and Appeal (10:26)
Factory of Dolls and Rockets (8:41)
Epics in Miniature (7:50)
Photo Montage (3:23)
Come with Me to the Rushes (:29)
What Does F.A.B. Mean? (:31)
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:26)
MGM 90th Anniversary Trailer

 

Thunderbird 6:

Isolated Score Track
Audio Commentary with Producer Sylvia Anderson and Director David Lane
Lady Penelope (9:51)
Building Better Puppets (8:10)
Tiger Moth (6:20)

Photo Montage (2:30)
A Call from Stanley Kubrick (:56)
A Television Tribute (:29)
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:59)

Liner notes by Julie Kirgo

 

THUNDRBIRDS ARE GO
Audio Commentary with Producer Sylvia Andersion and Director David Lane
Audio Commentary by Film Historians Jeff Bond and Nick Redman
"History and Appeal" Featurette (10:26)
"Factory of Dolls and Rockets" Featurette (8:40)
"Epics in Miniature" Featurette (7:49)

Animated Photo Gallery (3:23)
Theatrical Trailer (1:26)
 

THUNDERBIRD 6
Audio Commentary with Producer Sylvia Andersion and Director David Lane
Audio Commentary by Filmmaker Greg Ford and Cartoon Writer William Hohauser
"Lady Penelope" Featurette (9:50)
"Building Better Puppets" Featurette (8:10)
"Tiger Moth" Featurette (6:19)

Animated Photo Gallery (2:59)
Theatrical Trailer (1:58)

 

Bitrate:

 

Thunderbirds Are GO:

 

1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Thunderbird 6:

 

1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Description: Thunderbirds Are Go (1966) and Thunderbird 6 (1968) are the cinematic evolution of Gerry Anderson’s hugely popular British TV series, Thunderbirds (1965-66): a mix of puppetry (via the patented Supermarionation process, which allowed synchronization of dialogue with marionette movement), sci-fi futurism, action-adventure, and undeniably fabulous Sixties-era design. Both films weave tales of the adventures of the Tracy Family, a father and five sons who, with the assistance of the glamorous British agent Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, run International Rescue, an elite team who roam the globe—and beyond—in a humanitarian effort to help their fellow men.

***

THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO: Blast off into interplanetary adventure with the first feature-length film starring the International Rescue team: millionaire ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy, his five stalwart sons, the fabulous secret agent Lady Penelope and, of course, their incredibly futuristic fleet of Thunderbird rescue ships!

THUNDERBIRD 6: The Tracy team is back in action in another riveting adventure! This time it will take all of their combined effort - and the cunning wit of their colleague Lady Penelope - to defeat an international ring of terrorists, who've targeted International Rescue for destruction! (Brilliant! Decades Ahead of Its Time) Entertainment Weekly.

 

 

 

The Film:

Thunderbirds Are Go is a 1966 British science-fiction film based on Thunderbirds, a 1960s television series starring marionette puppets and featuring scale model effects in a filming process dubbed "Supermarionation". Written by Thunderbirds creators Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, directed by David Lane and produced by AP Films, Thunderbirds Are Go develops the franchise with a plot focusing on the futuristic spacecraft Zero-X and its manned mission to Mars. When Zero-X suffers a mechanical failure during re-entry, it is up to International Rescue, with the aid of the Thunderbird machines, to save the astronauts on board before the spacecraft is obliterated in a crash landing.

Filmed from March to June 1966 and premiering in December, Thunderbirds Are Go includes, in a first for an AP Films production, cameo appearances from puppets of real-life celebrities Cliff Richard and The Shadows, who also contributed to the musical score. It is also the first motion picture to have been filmed with an early form of video assist technology known as "Add-a-Vision", and incorporated landscape footage that was shot on location in Portugal. Special effects pieces, produced under the supervision of Derek Meddings and including rocket launch sequences, space shots and a miniature representation of the Martian surface, required six months to complete.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

Thunderbird 6 is a 1968 British science-fiction adventure film written by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, directed by David Lane and produced by Century 21 Cinema. A sequel to 1966's Thunderbirds Are Go, it was the second film to be adapted from the 1960s television series Thunderbirds, which combined scale models and special effects with marionette puppet characters in a filming process that the Andersons termed "Supermarionation". Intended to provide a lighter-hearted cinematic experience to contrast with the harder science of Thunderbirds Are Go, the Andersons elected to base the plot of Thunderbird 6 on Skyship One, a futuristic airship that is the latest project of the scientist Brains.

Alan, Tin-Tin, Lady Penelope and Parker represent International Rescue on Skyship One's round-the-world maiden flight, unaware that criminal mastermind The Hood is once again plotting to acquire the secrets of the Thunderbird machines. Paid agents of The Hood murder the original crew of Skyship One prior to take-off and assume their identities, entertaining the guests while scheming to lure the Tracy brothers into a trap. Meanwhile, Brains' efforts to produce a satisfactory design concept for Jeff's proposed Thunderbird 6 collide with fate when Skyship One is damaged and Alan's old Tiger Moth biplane appears to be the only hope of saving the International Rescue group and their impostor hosts.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Firstly, this Twilight Time Blu-ray package offers the two Thunderbird Feature films: Thunderbirds Are GO and Thunderbird 6. They share a lone Blu-ray disc and have similar bitrates looking very similar. This is dual-layered with a modest bitrate but looks quite impressive at times. The colors can be very vibrant, bordering on saturation, and every visuals detail of the high resolution only adds to the art direction. This is definitely the best way to watch Thunderbirds. There is pleasing detail exported, but not a lot of depth. No damage or speckles are visible. The visuals are bright and I noted no noise. The Blu-ray image looks great through most of the presentation with no major flaws. Highly appealing video.

 

The Kino video quality is exactly the same - see the bitrate graphs. The only difference is that they have, unnecessarily, divided the two single-layered transfers onto two separate discs as opposed to being on one dual-layered Blu-ray (like the Twilight Time). However, the image is as virtually identical as we can determine.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Thunderbirds Are GO:

 

1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thunderbird 6:

 

1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Both features offer a DTS-HD Master 5.1 bump at around 3500 kbps and an original mono in a DTS-HD Master at 1071 kbps. The surround has only a few impressive separations, but it tends to work with the presentation adding another layer of 'atmosphere'. The lossless is consistent - notable in the score by Barry Gray. This adds quite a bit to the presentation and being uncompressed helps support the presentation at a higher level. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Kino also offers both a surround bump or original mono in DTS-HD Masters transfers but they are in 16-bit as opposed to Twilight Time's more robust 24-bit. It' not an unforgivable difference but it is a difference. Kino also offers optional English subtitles (slightly different - smaller font - see compared samples above.) The two Kino Blu-rays are Region 'A'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

Along with the Thunderbirds Are GO feature are an optional Isolated Score Track, plus two audio commentaries. The first with film historians Jeff Bond and Nick Redman and the second, a lighter affair, with producer Sylvia Anderson and director David Lane. Excitement Is Go! - is a 22-minute making of Thunderbirds which shows some archival stills in the background and brief interviews. Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Unseen Test Footage is 17-minutes of the group - previous thought lost but recovered in 2013. There are some standard featurettes abourt production - History and Appeal running 10-minutes, Factory of Dolls and Rockets - 9-minutes, 8-minutes of Epics in Miniature - then there is a photo montage and some brief snippets from Sylvia Anderson regarding 'rushes' and what 'F.A.B.' means. There is also an original theatrical trailer.

Accessible from the Thunderbird 6 menus is another Isolated Score Track in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and Sylvia Anderson and David Lane do another enjoyable commentary. The featurettes involve Lady Penelope (9:51), Building Better Puppets (8:10), Tiger Moth (6:20), then another photo montage and Sylvia Anderson briefly commenting on 'A Call from Stanley Kubrick' and a 'Television Tribute'. Lastly is another original theatrical trailer. This package also has 8-pages of liner notes with photos plus some text by Julie Kirgo.

 

Same commentaries and most of the same featurettes as the Twilight Time. The Kino is missing the 23-minute Excitement Is Go! - Making Thunderbirds and the 17-minutes of Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Unseen Test Footage, a 'Call from Stanley Kubrick' and the Television Tribute. Twilight Time has the liner notes, Kino has a leaflet advertising some of their Blu-rays.

 

Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

 

 

Kino - Region 'A'  - Blu-ray

 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Quite the incredible package from Twilight Time. I know Thunderbirds have a huge following and I can see this going out of print very quickly and then fetching big bucks in auctions (like most from this distributor - it is limited to 3,000 units). There is an intangible appeal about the puppetry. It offers some heavy kitsch and the art direction is always interesting. The, phenomenally stacked Blu-ray has so much, even aside from the 3 hours of 2 Thunderbird features. This is very cool, nostalgic stuff and can certainly recommend to anyone, even remotely, keen.

 

The Kino is a notch below (two single-layered discs as opposed to one dual-layered, less robust audio, missing a few extras) - but, for many, not a significant one. It's advantage is the price - which is quite reasonable. Of course, serious Thunderbirds aficionados will opt for the complete 6-disc Blu-ray collection. Still so unique and cool after all these years.  

Gary Tooze

May 26th, 2014

June 22nd, 2017

The Complete Thunderbirds Collection is also available in a 6 Blu-ray disc, region FREE, set:

  

 

 

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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